The Gillard government bears no responsibility for the negative and vitriolic tone of the political debate in 2012, says Treasurer Wayne Swan.Don't blame us: Swan on vitriol
He admits the ''scrappy'' political year turned many voters off politics but denies the government contributed to bitter partisanship that defined it.
''I don't concede that the government has been behind personal attacks,'' he said. ''We want to have a policy discussion based on the facts, not on the aggressive negativity, particularly the likes of which we've seen from Tony Abbott … to say that's a personal attack on Tony Abbott, given the events of last year, I find quite extraordinary.''
This year, Prime Minister Julia Gillard labelled Opposition Leader Mr Abbott a misogynist, Health Minister Nicola Roxon said he had an ''issue with capable women'', and Mr Swan called him a ''policy weakling'' and a ''thug when it comes to personal attacks''.
Climate Change Minister Greg Combet called Mr Abbott a ''wrecker'' and said everything the Opposition Leader had told the public about carbon pricing was ''complete bullshit''.
But Mr Swan denied the government was culpable in helping to set the low tone of what has been labelled the nastiest political year in memory.
''You've got to be kidding me. The negativity in policy and personal attacks have all been from Abbott. ..."